Research Events
For the Public
Northwestern University

Student Cohorts

CIERA Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU):
Astrophysics in its Modern Interdisciplinary Context

Northwestern University's Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) is the proud host of a new NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, entitled:

For all questions, please contact ciera-reu@northwestern.edu.

Northwestern Chicago Dearborn Supercomputer Argonne Fermilab

For application information and to apply,
We expect to open applications for the 2018 summer in November, 2017
We plan to host seven REU students from approximately mid-June to mid-August, 2018*


21st century astrophysics is by nature interdisciplinary. Astronomers today work in collaboration and/or use methods developed by computer scientists, chemists, engineers, planetary scientists, mathematicians, etc. to address the most interesting questions about our Universe. The most innovative approaches stem from these interdisciplinary collaborations.

Our REU program provides students the opportunity to pursue an astrophysics-based interdisciplinary research project in collaboration with Northwestern University faculty in Astronomy, Applied Math, Chemistry, Earth and Planetary Science (EPS), Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (CS), and/or Physics.

For detailed descriptions of Summer REU research projects, .
Projects include work in the following astrophysical areas (with the interdisciplinary context in parentheses):

  • astrophysical fluid dynamics (High Performance Computing & Applied Math)
  • dark energy (Experimentation & Instrumentation)
  • dark matter (Theoretical Particle Physics, Experimentation, & Instrumentation)
  • data mining (High Performance Computing & CS)
  • exoplanet formation, evolution, & dynamics (EPS, Applied Math, & Experimentation)
  • galaxy formation & evolution, & cosmology (High Performance Computing & Visualization)
  • gravitational waves (Instrumentation, Engineering, & Applied Math)
  • interstellar medium (Observational & Instrumentation)
  • black holes & other compact objects (High Performance Computing & Applied Math)
  • solar system planet tectonics (Earth & Planetary Science)
  • supernova neutrinos (Theoretical Physics)
  • stellar evolution & dynamics (High Performance Computing)
  • x-ray detectors (Instrumentation)
  • sub-surface life on Earth, Mars and exoplanets (Earth & Planetary Science)

Projects include use of the following facilities:


The summer culminates in two poster sessions, 1 for a professional audience at Northwestern and 1 for the public at the Adler Planetarium. Financial support is also available to all of our REU students to present their posters at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, generally at the winter meeting following their appointment.

In addition to the directed research project, our REU includes:

  • computer programming tutorials (primarily in Python),
  • high performance computing workshops, using Northwestern's Quest Supercomputer,
  • Ready, Set, Go science communication workshops,
  • Scientific journal article writing workshops,
  • engaging research talks by faculty,
  • graduate school and GRE-prep panel discussions,
  • career panel discussion (including non-academic career paths),
  • organized field trips to FermiLab, Yerkes Observatory, and The Adler Planetarium,
and other less structured social events (BBQ's, beach party, etc.). With Chicago just 20 minutes away, there are numerous summer festivals and events to enjoy on the weekends. Students will also be encouraged to participate in the amazing summer outreach programs run through the Adler Planetarium.

Click here for more information on our workshops and activities.


The stipend for our REU students is $4500. We also provide up to $590 for travel to/from Chicago. We cover the cost of on-campus housing, and we also provide financial support for each student to present their summer research at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Yerkes Fermi CIERA Poster Adler Poster Adler

*In special circumstances, we may be able to make special accommodations to modify the start/end date.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Number 1359462. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.